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  • Vice President, Communications

    • Employer: Defenders of Wildlife
      Location: Washington, DC
      Country: United States
      Last Date to Apply: No value
      Open Until Filled: Yes



    JOB TITLE:   Vice President, Communications

    GRADE: 32

    SALARY: Up to $125,000

    FLSA:  Exempt

    DIVISION/SITE:  Headquarters, Washington DC

    DEPARTMENT:  Communications

    REPORTS TO:  Senior Vice President, Conservation Programs

    LAST REVISED:  September 2019

    Basic Summary:

    This results-oriented, senior-level position reports to the Senior Vice President for Conservation Programs and is responsible for coordinating Defenders of Wildlife’s external conservation program communications activities. Works closely with the Senior Vice President and other senior staff to develop communications campaigns and strategies to inform targeted audiences and the general public about Defenders’ conservation programs and to further Defenders’ legislative agenda.

    Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

    ·         Develops and implements communications strategies, campaigns, projects, workplans, budgets, publications, education materials, and reports for Defenders’ conservation programs in concert with the President/SVP and senior staff

    ·         Provides strategic advice and guidance on conservation program positioning and advises senior staff on specific communications opportunities. Responsible for identifying appropriate opportunities for the President & CEO, SVP and other senior leaders to publicly present Defenders’ vision and conservation policy positions.

    ·         Oversees Defenders’ relations with press media, including writing and editing press releases, securing earned media coverage of Defenders’ conservation policy positions and programs, and developing strategies for integrating news media coverage effectively in Defenders’ initiatives and campaigns.

    ·         Works with Defenders’ President & CEO to support Defenders’ executive communications, with responsibility for writing, editing and producing major communications from the President & CEO, including speeches, magazine columns, op-eds, press releases and other appropriate materials.

    ·         Supervises the production of professional communications products, including publications, reports, and paid advertisements.

    ·         Works collaboratively with Integrated Marketing and Development staff to ensure a consistent message; provides appropriate materials and develops proactive and creative opportunities, where appropriate, for communicating with the public, our membership, and funders.

    ·         Develops and implements new technologies, programs, and ideas that allow Defenders to present its conservation messages in more cost-effective and/or compelling manners.

    ·         Institutes and maintains systems/programs that measure the effectiveness of the activities undertaken by the Communications department.

    ·         In concert with the President/SVP and senior staff, determines overall staffing requirements and priorities of the Communications department.

    ·         Helps ensure consistency and credibility in all of Defenders’ conservation program communications.

    ·         Serves as liaison to other environmental organizations, environmental community collaborative efforts, and other audiences regarding conservation program communications strategies.

    ·         Serves as the organization’s spokesperson, as appropriate.

    ·         Provides timely briefings to President and CEO, SVP, Board of Directors, and program staff on issues and significant developments within assigned areas.

    ·         Develop, recommend and responsibly implement departmental budget.

    ·         Recommend, review and approve employment actions, including interviewing, hiring, promotions and raises, in conjunction with Human Resources. Partner with Human Resources in the handling of disciplinary issues.

    ·         Ensure communication of duties and responsibilities to direct reports and monitor performance. Provide regular coaching and counseling. Identify training needs. Prepare and deliver salary and performance reviews; review and approve performance and salary appraisals as necessary.

    ·         Performs all other related duties as assigned.



    Bachelor’s (B.A./B.S.) degree or equivalent in English, Public Relations, Journalism, Environmental Communications, Public Policy or related discipline.


    10+ years: progressively responsible experience with demonstrated results in journalism, broadcasting, media relations, marketing and/or related fields, preferably in a relevant environmental specialty.

    5+ years: senior-level management experience, including responsibility for direct supervision of staff and management and budgeting within an organizational framework, is required.  


    Working knowledge of the environmental community, environmental media, and conservation policy issues, experience directing national public relations, advocacy, or legislative campaigns, and political experience, judgment, and sensitivity, including a general understanding of lobbying, committees and federal legislative processes, is required.  Experience in drafting speeches and other executive communications, working with senior executive leaders is required. 

    ·         An equivalent combination of education and experience may be accepted as a satisfactory substitute for the specific education and experience listed above.

    ·         Writing skills: exceptional writing and editing skills, including the ability to write in a range of voices and styles for varied projects with diverse audiences.  Ability to distill complex issues and demanding subject matter into clear and compelling narrative prose.

    ·         Well-established network of media and relevant contacts

    ·         Excellent verbal and written communications skills, including the ability to serve as a poised, articulate, and professional spokesperson for the organization

    ·         Working knowledge of new media

    ·         Ability to work collaboratively and to juggle multiple issues simultaneously

    ·         Strong management, planning, administrative, and organizational skills

    ·         Strong analytical, research, and investigative skills, especially in wildlife/natural resource law and conservation

    ·         Working knowledge of federal agencies, laws, policies, and general scientific principles related to the conservation of wildlife and natural resources

    Work Expectations:

    Work Environment:

    General office working conditions, the noise level in the work environment is usually quiet.

    Physical Demands:

    While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to use a computer and communicate with others while doing so.

    All employees are required to satisfactorily perform the essential duties and responsibilities of their positions. The essential duties and responsibilities listed above are not intended to be construed as an exhaustive list of all responsibilities, duties and skills required. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions of the job.

    How to Apply:

    Interested applicants please apply with a cover letter through our indeed jobs portal at http://www.defenders.org/jobs



    About Defenders:

    Defenders of Wildlife is a national, non-profit membership organization dedicated to the protection of all native wild animals and plants in their natural communities. Our employees work in an environment that is inclusive and honors each of our unique perspectives and backgrounds. We believe that the conservation of biological diversity is best advanced by the contributions of people of diverse backgrounds, experiences, beliefs and cultures.  We strive toward a collective goal of including all people in the conservation of our Nation’s wildlife and wild places.

    Visit Our Values and Diversity page to learn more about who we are and how we operate.


    It is the policy of Defenders of Wildlife to provide equal employment opportunity to all qualified individuals without regard to their race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity (including gender expression), sexual orientation, disability, age, marital status, family/parental status, or any other characteristic protected by law, in all personnel actions.



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